Pollo en Jocon – Guatemalan Chicken stew

Pollo en jocon is a traditional Guatemalan Mayan chicken stew that is easy to make as long as you have a blender. This tangy hearty chicken stew is made primarily with tomatillos, which resembles a gooseberry with its outer husk, and an unripen tomato. It may be hard to find fresh tomatillos. Check your grocery store aisles in the Mexican cuisine section, you might find canned ones. I found fresh and canned in Kensington market at a store called Perolas, which offers all of your Latin recipes needs. This key ingredient gives the soup its tang and green colour along with cilantro, jalapeno and green peppers. Toasted pumpkin and sesame seeds give the soup a creamy nutty flavor.

RECIPE + INGREDIENTS

Serves 4 – 6

For the stew:

  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds (set aside 2 tsp for serving)
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds (set aside 1 tsp for serving)
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 10 cups of water
  • 2 cups of bone broth
  • 1 can tomatillo
  • 10 fresh tomatillos (if you can’t find fresh add 1 more can to the recipe)
  • 3-4 tbsp. cilantro
  • 3 tbsp. avocado oil
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 3 jalapeno peppers
  • 2 green peppers
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 2-4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

For topping:

  • Toasted pumpkin and sesame seeds
  • 1 chopped green onion
  • ½ avocado
  • Lime wedges (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  • Use a pan on medium heat to toast the pumpkin seeds for approximately 5 minutes. You will know they are done when they begin to crackle. Place in a bowl and toast sesame seeds for approximately 5 minutes or until golden in colour. Stir both seeds frequently to avoid burning. Place the sesame seeds in the same bowl as the pumpkin seeds and set aside.
  • In a large stockpot, place chicken and fresh tomatillos with 10 cups of water and 2 tsp of salt. Bring to a boil, lower to a gentle simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from the pot, set aside on a plate. Keep 2 cups of the boiled water for the stew.
  • Remove tomatillos from the pot and place in the blender. Strain canned tomatillos, add to blender, add 1 cup of boiled water and cilantro. Blend. Pour the puree into the pot and put on a low simmer.
  • In a large sauté pan, heat the avocado oil. Chop the onions, jalapeno, green pepper and garlic. Sauté all the vegetables for approximately 5 – 7 minutes or until they are soft.
  • Place sautéed vegetables and 1 cup of boiled water to blender. Puree ingredients and pour into pot.
  • Blend toasted pumpkin and sesame seeds with 2 cups of bone broth. Puree until it turns into a watery tahini sauce and pour into pot. Simmer soup for 15 – 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Shred the chicken using two forks, chop the green onions and slice the avocado. Once the soup is finished cooking, serve 1 cup in a bowl, and add a handful of the shredded chicken and top with a few of the garnishes. Now it’s ready to serve and enjoy.

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